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La Dolce Vita 16/30

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Meat quality
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195 Spring St
(between Sullivan & Thompson St)
New York, NY

Wednesday, September 12, the day after the collapse of the World Trade Center. Lower Manhattan is closed, with police checkpoints at 14th, Houston, and Canal Streets.

Late last night the sirens finally stopped, and Soho settled into an eerie, surreal calm. Tonight a haze of soot hangs in the air, irritating noses and stinging eyes.

La Dolce Vita was one of three restaurants in Soho I saw open tonight, with one waitress and probably only one chef (some entrées took up to an hour and a half to arrive).

The mood was quiet, with a few neighborhood regulars sipping wine at the bar and watching Peter Jennings. Couples passed by in surgical masks, walking their dogs in the middle of the street. There was no traffic other than the occasional emergency vehicle heading south.

Luckily I got one of the last two steaks they had—a large blackened shell steak in a thin and milky au poivre sauce, served with a side dish of potato wedges. The steak wasn’t great (though the pasta dishes looked delicious), but it was a relief to be in a restaurant again.

It didn’t feel like any day or any hour. As someone next to me said, “The city has no time today.”

Submitted by JHC
September 12, 2001


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